At least 1 in 65 people in Ireland are autistic and nearly 300,000 people have an immediate family member on the autism spectrum.
Autistic people are as diverse as the society we live in and are already making contributions to communities across Ireland. April is World Autism Month (with World Autism Awareness Day being April 2nd), and we can take this as an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the autism community and create more inclusive communities by expanding knowledge, understanding and acceptance.
To mark Autism Awareness Month in April SuperValu & AsIAm have teamed up to launch “Say Yes to Autism Acceptance”. The aim of the campaign is to build more inclusive communities across Ireland, and to encourage people to say ‘Yes’ for a change: Yes to employment, Yes to education and Yes to community inclusion. The campaign will include a “Say Yes to Autism Acceptance” guide with 10 ways to say yes to Autism Acceptance, which will be available in SuperValu stores throughout World Autism Month in April.
Commenting on the campaign CEO of AsIAm Adam Harris said:
“World Autism Month is an important milestone each year, aiming to create awareness and understanding so we can have a more inclusive society. It is particularly important this year as we see the enormous impact COVID-19 is having on autistic people. Many autistic people and their families are experiencing major challenges having not been prioritised or meaningfully supported through COVID-19. The loss of routine and structure and the closure of essential services has had a long-term impact. Our community will need significant support to come through this period.
“As we look to the future and as we emerge from this awful pandemic we do not want to go back to the “old normal”, rather we want a brighter, more inclusive society that is fair to autistic people. Many people in our community are used to being told no from a very young age – no you can’t make friends, no we can’t provide you with the support you need and no, you can’t get a job. Since COIVD-19, we have all looked at how we can do things differently, and we should look at how people with autism are treated. We have an amazing opportunity to create a society which is not merely aware of autism but rather truly accepts autistic people – valuing our contribution, meeting our needs and working together.”
“We are proud to be working with SuperValu this World Autism Day to ask people around Ireland to say yes to their 78,000 friends, family members and colleagues who are autistic and yes to their 300,000 mums, dads, husbands, wives and siblings. We can all achieve this by committing to small changes to make our communities more inclusive, by sharing our commitment online with #AutismMonthSayYes and critically, you can donate to AsIAm, Ireland’s National Autism Charity, to help us support the autism community through COVID-19 and beyond.”
Here is what Ian Allen, Managing Director, SuperValu has to say about the campaign:
“Our partnership with AsIAm is hugely important and we are so proud to be able to build on the impactful work done with AsIAm in stores and communities around Ireland. To continue our mission to make Ireland more inclusive the “Say Yes to Autism Acceptance” Guide will be available in all stores throughout April. The guide aims to help to create awareness and understanding and provide practical guidance so our communities can better support autistic people and their families. We encourage people to pick up a guide in-store, support AsIAm services by donating and join us in creating a more inclusive society.”
So, here are 10 ways you can help to say Yes to Autism Acceptance:
- Being clear
- Being patient
- Reaching out
- Being aware of the sensory environment
- Fill in the gaps
- Being accepting
- Watch y our language
- Challenge stigma and bullying
- Listening and learning
- Seeing our abilities
AsIAm asking public to donate on asiam.ie/donate as queries to its service increase by 280% on the same period prior to the pandemic and share #AutismMonthSayYes on social media channels.